Sri Lanka vs Australia 2016: Mitchell Starc excited about his long-awaited return to Test cricket
Mitchell Starc will make his long-awaited return to Test cricket when he dons the Australian jersey against Sri Lanka in the first of three Test matches that begin at Kandy on July 26. Set to play his first Test match since being sidelined with injuries in November last year, Starc can’t wait to get back the taste of five-day cricket.
Starc, who missed the World T20, IPL as well as a number of key matches for his national side after a bone in an already troublesome right foot broke into two during the Adelaide Test against the West Indies in late 2015, made his return for Australia during the triumphant ODI tri-series in the Carribean that featured West Indies and Australia. Starc said that the rehabilitation and strengthening programme after the surgery to remove a floating bone in the same right foot has done him a word of good.
"Having that (floating) bone taken out the back has done wonders for it,” he said. "That movement has been fantastic, ever since I started bowling again after surgery. There has definitely been no pain there through the West Indies and through the start of this tour. It's a fantastic result and I'm looking forward to hopefully playing a much longer period of cricket now.”
Starc is also looking forward to working alongside South African fast bowling legend Allan Donald who has been roped in as Australia’s new bowling coach.
“He (Donald) has toured here maybe five or six times, more than any of the other bowlers (in the Australia squad)," Starc said. "So it's great to get his thoughts on reverse swing, swinging the new ball, and maybe some of the ways the Sri Lankan players have played in the past.
"We've been working with Craig (McDermott) for a number of years now and to bring in AD (Donald) with a different set of eyes and a different set of theories it's always nice to freshen things up and see what he's got to offer on that topic as well,” he added.
Though the left arm pacer will be playing Test cricket for the time in Sri Lanka, Starc knows what to expect and has already devised a few strategies to achieve success in the island nation.
"We all reverse the ball pretty well, it's just about doing it more often and getting it in those right areas here in Sri Lanka where it's going to be needed a lot more. Not having played Test cricket here before, and comparing it to somewhere like India where you really need to strike as often and as quickly as you can with that new ball to make inroads into the middle order. It's pretty similar over here. The ball might last a little bit longer, maybe if the pitch is not being as harsh on the ball and it's swinging for a few more overs than in India,” Starc said.
"So as a bowling unit we want to take two or three wickets with that brand new ball and really get inroads into that middle order and expose them to our pace and our spinners. That's going to be a big key, and we've spoken a lot about that," he added.